Acclaimed U.K. hip-hop star Ben “Ty” Chijioke has died at the age of 47 after a battle with COVID-19 coronavirus. The Guardian reported the news, saying the rapper’s death had been confirmed by his representatives. Chijioke contracted the virus in March and was admitted to the hospital, but his condition had been improving in mid-April and he was moved out of intensive care.
According to a fundraising page set up for the rapper after his hospitalization, he was “admitted into the hospital with medical complications related to Covid-19. Shortly after, he was put in a medically induced coma to temporarily sedate to help his body receive the appropriate treatment.” He was moved out of intensive care in mid-April after his condition improved and the fundraising page was shut down on April 19. The final post on the page on April 19 reads:
Hey guys. Just to update you that TY is now out of the intensive care unit and is on a normal ward. He is doing much better. Super excited. I closed the page a few days ago but several people contacted me because they wanted to donate so I opened it again for a few days. We have officially closed it now. Thank you guys.
The circumstances around Chijioke’s health decline and death have not been shared at this time.
Chijioke Was an Acclaimed Hip-Hop Star Who Was Nominated for a Mercury Prize
According to Chijioke’s Bandcamp profile, the artist is “best known for his lyrical frankness and honest portrayals of everyday life, setting him aside from many mainstream hip hop acts and allowing him complete artistic independence.” Chijioke’s first album, The Awkward, was released in 2001, which he followed up with Upwards in 2003. That album would earn him more commercial exposure and it was nominated for the Mercury prize.
His songs have been streamed over a million times on Spotify — “Wait a Minute” has over 500,00 streams on the platform and “Ha Ha” has over 450,000. He is also known for “Somehow Somewhere Someway,” “Oh You Want More?” and his most recent release on the platform, “Boogie,” which came out on February 27, 2020.
The GoFundMe Page Described the Artist as a ‘Beacon to the Community’ in Brixton, U.K.
According to The Guardian, Chijioke was born in 1972 in London, U.K., to Nigerian immigrant parents. The fundraising page for Chijioke was set up by Diane Laidlaw, who described the rapper as a close friend and her son’s godfather. She said:
If I was to know anything about TY is that he would give you his last penny if he had it to give. Always donating his time and energy to anyone that needs it. I can often hear him say ‘Let’s make this happen.’ The original witty joker who would always make you laugh with his facial expressions and undercover sarcasm. He would be that friend that you can rant to without judgement. Always giving BUT always been afraid to ask for help.
She said her intention in setting up the page was to raise money so that Chijioke could focus on his recovery after leaving the hospital without having to worry about money. Laidlaw has not yet posted an update to the fundraiser since closing it on April 19.
Fans and friends have posted on social media about the rapper’s passing: